Over 13,000 work attachments to be open to mid-career job seekers

They can apply for traineeships from the pool earlier slated for fresh, recent graduates

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat talking to a job seeker and a career ambassador at the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centre at Kampong Chai Chee Community Club yesterday. Accompanying him on the visit were (standing, from far left) Workforce Singapor
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat talking to a job seeker and a career ambassador at the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centre at Kampong Chai Chee Community Club yesterday. Accompanying him on the visit were (standing, from far left) Workforce Singapore deputy chief executive Foo Kok Jwee, Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How and Manpower Minister Josephine Teo. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Traineeships will be expanded to also cater to mid-career job seekers, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced yesterday during a visit to the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centre at Kampong Chai Chee Community Club.

From Saturday, mid-career job seekers will be able to apply for over 13,000 company attachments via the MyCareersFuture.sg portal.

The attachments are part of the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme and include roles such as business development managers, software engineers, finance analysts and e-commerce associates.

They will come from the pool of positions earlier slated for fresh and recent graduates.

The traineeship scheme for fresh graduates has attracted interest from more than 6,400 organisations offering more than 35,000 positions, which far exceeds the number of fresh and recent graduates who are likely to fill them, said Workforce Singapore (WSG).

WSG and the Singapore Business Federation, which is the programme manager, will thus work with the organisations to open up over 13,000 of these earlier-approved positions to mid-careerists.

"This will give host organisations the option to fill these positions with experienced mid-career individuals, who bring with them a wealth of work experience and skills," said WSG.

Mr Heng said: "One thing which is very clear from both the experiences of the career coaches and from my discussion with the job seekers is that we all need to change and adapt.

"On the part of job seekers, we need to change our mindsets about what are suitable jobs. I've heard of many successful cases where people in various jobs decide to try new things, decide to even take lower pay, because... (they) need to rebuild (their) careers. So I'm very glad that these changes are happening."

The mid-career attachments can range from four to nine months and must start by March 31 next year. A job is not guaranteed after the attachment, but host organisations can consider hiring workers who perform well when business conditions improve.

Workers on the attachments will get a monthly training allowance of between $1,400 and $3,000, of which 80 per cent will be funded by the Government, said WSG.

Some firms already on board are GIC, United Overseas Bank and Watsons Singapore.

WSG chief executive Tan Choon Shian said: "We empathise with the anxieties mid-career individuals face during this difficult time and have stepped up efforts to ensure quality attachments with clear development plans so that they can quickly and confidently embark on permanent jobs once the economy recovers."

Mr Heng said that employers also have to adapt, picking staff who might not be the perfect fit but are willing to learn.

"Employers must redesign jobs so that we can make the best use of the skills of our people, make full use of all the tools that we have put out under our Industry Transformation Maps, to both upgrade the skills of our workers and upgrade our operations. And in fact, when the Covid-19 situation passes... they will be able to emerge stronger, they will be more competitive, more productive."

The attachment programmes are part of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package announced in the Fortitude Budget speech in May.

In total, some 100,000 jobs, traineeships and training places will be created to help job seekers.

WSG is also stepping up efforts to make services more accessible, with SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centres set up around the island providing career advice and job matching services. All Housing Board towns will have a centre by Aug 15, with eight opening on Saturday.

These centres have helped 1,300 job seekers since the first batch of eight centres started operating on July 1, said Mr Tan.

The agency is also holding virtual career fairs online and setting up SGUnited Jobs and Skills information kiosks in areas with high footfall. The next kiosk will be set up at Elias Mall in Pasir Ris tomorrow.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2020, with the headline Over 13,000 work attachments to be open to mid-career job seekers. Subscribe